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Bamboo bats may drive cricket in future
London, May 10 - The likes of Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and Kane Williamson could well discard their English willow bats for those made from bamboo. British scientists have come up with a research saying that cricket bats made of bamboo are a viable option given that they don't compromise on the 'sweet spot' of traditional willow.
"Willow has been the principal material for cricket bats for centuries," said Dr Darshil Shah from the University of Cambridge, who is the co-author of the study.
"Despite a good innings, there are problems with the supply of English willow. It takes about 15 years before a tree can be harvested, after which new trees must be planted. Between 15 and 30 per cent of the wood is also wasted during bat production," Dr Shah told The Guardian newspaper in London.
Shah, who himself is an avid cricketer having played for Thailand's under-19 national team, said that bamboo, being a cheap commodity, could be used in the mass production of bats.
"Bamboo -- a grass -- is a cheap, plentiful, fast growing and sustainable material. Shoots are able to grow from previous stumps, and maturity is reached after seven years. It is also very prevalent in countries that are taking up cricket such as China, Japan, South America," said Shah.
The research, published in the Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, says that the prototype bat blade can be made by pasting strips of bamboo shoots to form layers.
The team noticed that the bat made from bamboo and adhesives was "stiffer, harder and stronger than those made of willow, although more brittle".
"It had a similar vibration performance, meaning it sounds similar when striking a ball. It is heavier than a willow bat, and we are looking to optimise that," said Shah.
Shah said the bamboo bat has a larger "sweet spot", which goes right to the toe of the bat.
"The sweet spot is a region on the bat where, when the ball hits on to that region, the ball flies away in high speed," said Shah.
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